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Studio@620’s Bob Devin Jones honors Ya la’Ford. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla.

A Look Back at a Celebration of Gratitude, Diversity and Community Bonds — The Studio@620 Studio Honors

TEXT BY JULIE GARISTO
PHOTOS BY DANIEL VEINTIMILLA | Jan. 19, 2019

Camaraderie and appreciation ruled the night at last month’s Studio Honors. The Studio@620 annual awards and fundraising celebration paid homage to “Art & Architecture.” Honorees included muralist/artist/dynamic force Ya La’ford (who provided her geometric artwork for the event logo projected on the wall) and ubiquitous architect Tim Clemmons.

Innovative dancer Alex Jones received the Ola Mae Jones Award as an emerging artist in Dance.

Held at Openhouse, 1113 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, the sophisticated soiree attracted a festive, dressed-to-the-nines crowd, who wined amid the white linen, inventive lighting and Provence-style decor of St. Pete’s latest events venue.

Attendees noshed on a wide array of hors d’oeuvres and charcuterie as well as some delectable baked goods from  Valhalla Bakery.

Alex Jones performs at Studio Honors, Dec. 1, 2018. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla.

Highlights of the evening include a stirring, roving performance by Alex Jones. He performed a inspired by his grandmother to “This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight” by Dinah Washington and Max Richter. The dancer slithered and strutted  through the crowd, conveying powerful emotion with both precise and expansive movements.

“My grandmother turns 100 this year,” Jones shared. “She is living history and she’s my connect to my ancestry beyond her through her stories. When creating the work, I aimed not to be my Granny — that’s what my family calls her — but an embodiment of her and how I see her. She’s my superhero and she’s experienced both life’s pleasures and pain. I wanted to show the youth I see when I look at her.”

Sharon Scott delivered a powerful a capella performance at the Studio Honors. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla.

Sharon Scott surprised the crowd with an a cappella rendition of “I Then Shall Live” (lyrics by Gloria Gaither, music by Jean Sibelius’s“Finlandia.”) “It is a rewrite of sorts of the hymn,” Scott said. “It is not an original composition, but an original interpretation.” Belting out to the rafters, Scott captivated everyone in attendance.

In one of the most touching speeches of the night, Studio@620 Executive Artistic Director/co-founder Bob Devin Jones paid tribute to his late compatriot G. David Ellis.

Ellis’s wife, Astrid, accepted the award and credited her husband for “sowing the seeds of ‘yes’ — a recurring word in the Studio’s events and promotions — and said he was at the Studio more than he was at home.

More photos from the evening below: